Harrison County

Lions dance as Gulfport children's museum honors Chinese New Year

Video: Watch the lion dance being performed to celebrate Chinese New Year

The Van Duc Lion Dancers perform the lion dance to celebrate the Chinese New Year and for good luck on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center.
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The Van Duc Lion Dancers perform the lion dance to celebrate the Chinese New Year and for good luck on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center.

GULFPORT -- Museum members and guests were on hand Saturday for the annual Lion Dance as part of the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center's celebration of the Chinese New Year.

"The Lion Dance is every lunar year," said Johnny Nguyen, leader of the dance team from the Chua Van Duc Buddhist Temple in Biloxi.

Carla Sharrow, art educator, said Lynn Meadows has hosted the dance and parade through the museum every year for 12 years.

"We like to make sure to honor the different cultures in our community," said Cindy DeFrances, the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center director.

Nguyen said he has been dancing for 17 years, since he was 8 years old. The youngest member of the team is William Lai, 8. He's danced since he was 4 years old.

During the dance, held outside at the museum's pavilion, the lions pretended to gobble up young William. They headed toward the children in the audience, as well, who were delighted.

Some spectators happened on the celebration. Haley Rishel of Long Beach was at the center for her son Reed's birthday party. They did not know the dance was planned.

DeFrances said she thinks many people came out for the Chinese New Year celebration. "I see a lot of members, but I also see a lot of unfamiliar faces too, so they may have come out just for this."

The Chinese New Year began Monday. This year is the Year of the Monkey.

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